On Mar. 2, 2023, a screenshot of a tweet allegedly from the Essex Police department in the U.K. went viral for its controversial statement in which it appeared to call for more applicants from the "correct background," which meant mostly ethnic minority communities.
The tweet screenshot said, "We're hiring! Essex Police aims to be the first county-level police force in Britain composed of at least 50% Black, Asian, and minority ethnic officers! If you're from the correct background you can submit a streamlined application without your CV."
Twitter account @TheFreds shared this screenshot, calling out Essex Police for allegedly using the term "correct background" to describe diverse applicants.
The backlash was swift, with internet users claiming that the statement was racist and discriminatory against white people:
We looked for evidence of such a tweet from Essex Police and found none. The official Twitter account of the police department also denied posting such a tweet, calling the image "manipulated." They wrote: "It is a fake and has never appeared on our social accounts as part of our recruitment campaign. The wording does not reflect the Essex Police recruitment strategy. Find out the truth on our website."
Indeed, the link they posted leads to their official website, which simply states, "A career that values difference" to emphasize their call for diversity. The page then features photographs of police officers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
They also have a range of departments which list job opportunities. The site states, "Recruitment is open for PCs, officer transfers, Specials, PCSOs, Contact Management and police staff."
When people on Twitter asked the police department for evidence of the original tweet, they wrote, "The graphic at the bottom (coloured squares, photos of officers and the words 'We Value Difference') has been copied from some of our genuine recruitment material. All the words above that have been made up."
They also pointed out, "There are many examples of our branded recruitment material and messages throughout our timeline on Twitter, Facebook page and our website."
We looked through their recruitment material and their timelines and found no evidence of such language. We thus rate this claim as "False."